When I started my very first agency 25 years ago (hey, I was very young), my team had the habit of calling me 'boss'.

I hated it. The word made me squirm.

Not just because most of them were older than me and it felt undeserved, but because part of starting my own thing was to get away from the very idea of bosses.

I'd seen some terrible leadership and management at the BBC, and was determined my business would be different.

So I did something even worse than not being a very good boss: I abdicated being a boss altogether.

I asked not to be called boss, I pretended we were all the same level, I actively avoided doing anything that might come across as thinking I was the boss.

The first few years of that business were an absolute mess. No clear vision, no strategy, a muddy culture, no decisions, and alignment only by accident. It scraped by financially.

Then finally I grew up a bit (the hard way) and learned that groups of people do need to be led. They don't just want to be, they yearn for it.

Helped by an advisory board I brought together, I stepped up to be the boss at last and, (painfully) slowly, I learned how to boss it.

Being a boss in an agency doesn't have to mean what many of us will have experienced elsewhere. It is possible to be a boss in a way that fits with agency culture.

Over the next few weeks we'll explore some of the behaviours of 'bossing it' as the kind of agency leader you can feel proud of being.

Get your Agency Espresso every Monday

A shot of inspiration for agency leaders, direct to your inbox

We will never share your details with anyone else